Rick Sanchez is such a fascinating character to dissect. In the finale, though, I think we missed a few key things that were highlighted towards the end of season three.
- Rick is about to lose control of his comfortable reality. As stated by the therapist in the “pickle rick” episode, Rick loves both the thrill of spontaneity and the comfort of control. However, as we’ve begun to see, Rick is losing control of his life. Jerry, who often leads the charge against Rick’s will, is now back as a reigning force in the family. Morty, who is normally Rick’s sidekick, is beginning to push back against him for his unhealthy habits. In many ways, Rick is slipping out of favor in the Smith household.
- Rick is staying with his family because he has grown attached to them. In the finale, Beth asks why Rick doesn’t just go to another timeline where things are more favorable for him—because clearly this timeline is about to bend against his favor. In the final scene of the Rick and Morty season three finale, we see the family laughing, seemingly at Rick’s expense. Beth tells Rick off for insulting Jerry, which has previously almost never happened, and is entirely different from the previous dynamic between Beth and Rick. And, in this moment, Rick does nothing. No snide remarks to shut them up. No anger. No retaliation. Though he is clearly upset, he lets them laugh and enjoy their newly adopted dynamic—which seems to be in ostracization of Rick. Rick not only shows that he loves his family in the scene, but he shows once again that he will go to great lengths for them. Considering how prideful Rick tends to be (he practically rants about being a god at least once every season), allowing them to remove his control and attack his ego is a huge symbol of love and tolerance.
- The infamous Rick and Morty duo are on the decline. Recently, it seems that Rick and Morty are now on an equal level in terms of action in the overarching plot. Rick no longer leads the charge, and Morty is beginning to become independent of Rick. Morty has shown that he has learned several other stellar languages, has an excellent knowledge of other planets and cultures, and is more than capable of verbally defending himself against nearly every authority figure. At this point, it almost seems as though Morty no longer needs Rick—or is maybe even growing tired of him. While that new dynamic flourishes, Rick seems to be more keen on spending time with Morty (i.e. “it’s not an adventure without Morty”) whereas Morty will escape to a cabin in the woods to hide from Rick at the drop of a hat. Rick has let himself get attached to his grabdson riiiight as his grandson is growing tired of him.
- As all of this is happening, let’s not forget a few key elements of Rick’s personality.
From the very beginning Rick has struggled to make it through the challenges of his complicated life. It seems that just as Rick gets what he wants (no matter how wrong and unhealthy), it’s ripped away from him in an instant. And, in this finale, we see Rick finally lose what he’s been gaining from the very beginning—unconditional and unquestioned love.